FCC wireless auction may pave way to free public access

Fri, 05/30/2008 - 8:20am
Brian Santo

Wait! The FCC has more wireless spectrum to auction yet, and it’s considering mandating that some of it be used for free public access.

To be auctioned will be 25 MHz slice of spectrum in the 2155MHz band. The proposal under consideration would have the buyer set aside a portion of the network for free public access. The winning bidder would be required to build out its network to half the U.S. population within four years and 95 percent in 10 years.

A company called M2Z had previously asked the FCC to simply grant it license to that spectrum, which it would use to provide free public wireless access, in exchange for a percentage of any proceeds.

The other swath of spectrum still available is the D Block which failed to attract an adequate bid in the last FCC spectrum auction. The FCC is trying to set aside that portion of spectrum for dual use by public emergency services organizations and private enterprise. The FCC is currently accepting public comment on how to craft rules that will make the D Block more attractive to bid on.

The FCC is likely to make final decisions on the rules governing the auction of those two blocks of spectrum at its June 12 meeting.

More Broadband Direct:

• FCC wireless auction may pave way to free public access 

• SeaChange ekes out a Q1 profit 

• NCTA elects board and exec committee 

• Broadband Briefs for 5/30/08 


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